We read with interest your article, "Recipe for a ready-made holiday" [Food & Flavor, Nov. 14]. I come from a large family, being the second-oldest of nine children. My sister, Mary Zima, and I have made most Thanksgiving dinners (for 25 to 40 guests) ahead for many years now -- most of it thanks to her brainstorming, because she is the queen of shortcuts.
We have made the turkey ahead and frozen it (yes, frozen it) for many years now, and nobody knows.
We also make ahead and freeze the stuffing (it freezes beautifully), as well as the juices for the gravy. (Thickened gravy doesn't freeze so well, but it can be thickened the day before, and then reheated that day.) We make our sweet potatoes ahead and freeze the whole dish. Mashed potatoes are made the day before and reheated.
Last year, a good friend of mine told me how to prepare pumpkin pies and freeze raw -- yes, raw dough and raw filling -- and then bake the day before.
On Thanksgiving day, the hostess puts all into a warm oven before everyone even gets there. Everyone brings their dish in something to keep it warm, and puts out their own casserole, etc., when it comes time to serve. And they take their casserole dish/servers/platters home and wash them at home. We use throw-away foam plates and plastic glasses, too, and hand out foam containers so people can choose the leftovers they want to take home.
The point is to get together with our families and enjoy a meal.
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